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Interested in Proactive IT Management?

Consider operational adoption early in your planning cycle

With the end of year approaching, I find myself looking back at some of our new projects in the second half of 2012 and studying the commonalities. We remain focused on Fortune 500 companies where applications are global, complex, transactional and virtualized - where the need for analytics to automate performance management is greatest - and where the business case for proactive IT operations is most compelling.

However, I have noticed a recent trend of an increasing number of new projects emerging across wider industry sectors and application types. I interpret this as a sign that the market for predictive analytics for IT is maturing, and that our investment in an open analytics and integration API platform is paying off by allowing us to integrate to virtually any new data source during the implementation stage.

Highlights of our new projects include managing the performance of a Point of Sale application for a major telecommunications company, a white-label e-commerce platform for one of the world's largest e-commerce providers, a service activation application for a leading European service provider, a global private cloud platform for one of the top ten banks, and an account management application for a major insurance company.

All of the implementations include multiple data sources for performance Key Performance Indicators (KPI), a customer-specific proprietary data source, a source of customer experience measurement, and cross-platform service views. The emergence of Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) as a new data source is new, but not yet common across all projects.

There is also a similarity that I think is most important for the overall project success, which is our customers' interest in embracing our operational adoption methodology. It has taken us a decade to compile and refine the best practices that constitute our methodology, and we have now made it part of our standard engagement model. The philosophy is essentially to take an incremental approach towards implementation and adoption (vs. an early wide approach), while minimizing the impact on existing processes (vs. engaging in a process re-engineering transformation), and focusing operational training on company-specific procedures (vs. on the product). The result is a phased project plan with specific value milestones, which we refer to as V.I.P, starting with application support personnel (aka level-3) gaining cross-platform "Visibility" to shorten mean time to resolution (MTTR), followed by subject matter experts (level-2) using the capabilities for fault "Isolation", and finally operations center staff (level-1) using the solution for "Proactive" escalation.

I have been pleasantly surprised to see our prospects and customers associate as much value to the best practices as they do to our core analytics technology and integrations. Their reception and encouragement made us more determined to organize the best practices into the current framework. In response to this market need, we now present our operational adoption approach early in the sale cycles and plan an Operational Adoption Workshop prior to the first software license purchase. This workshop allows us to assess the current state of operations, understand the desired state, and collaboratively design a phased project plan.

Our market's response to our best practices adoption framework indicates to me that we, as enterprise software vendors, have historically focused too much on selling large Enterprise License Agreements (ELA) as quickly as possible, and not enough on a patient, helpful and gradual pursuit of overall project success. This has resulted in the industry's sin commonly known as "shelf-ware". I have written a more detailed paper to describe our lessons learned linked here and hope that you will find interesting.

More Stories By Bob Farzami

Bob Farzami is the founder of Netuitive, where he assembled the company’s investment syndicate and management team. He currently focuses on the operational adoption of the company’s solution, and leads product management and professional services activities. Previously, he was co-founder and chairman of one of the industry’s first Application Service Providers (ASP) where he led corporate development resulting in seven acquisitions, and ultimately a public offering. Prior to being involved with emerging software companies, Bob was Director of Technology for AT&T Local Services and Teleport Communications Group (TCG). He started his career as a hardware developer for networking equipment, and conducted research at the Center for Telecommunications Research, an industrial consortium sponsored by IBM, GTE and the National Science Foundation.

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